May 19, 2021 — The “New Taiwan-Penghu Ferry Operation and Construction Plan”, much-anticipated by the residents of Penghu, was approved by the Executive Yuan in early April. The Maritime and Port Bureau (MPB) of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) immediately announced online the “Long-Term Service Procurement Project for Kaohsiung-Magong Route;” the evaluation is expected to be completed in early May. For the first time, the central government will contract a new transportation service through shipping operators that meets the relevant specifications under a 20-year period. Moreover, the old TAI HWA Ferry is expected to be replaced in two years and four months with the new vessel that (i.e., August 2023) will provide a new service on the Kaohsiung-Magong route.

According to Yeh, Hsieh-Lung, Director General of the MPB, after considering the demand for travel, vehicle, and cargo transportation between Taiwan and Penghu, in order to meet the basic needs of people traveling between Taiwan and Penghu, and in response to the future development of tourism in Penghu, the MPB proposed the “New Taiwan-Penghu Ferry Operation and Construction Plan” for the first time under the principle of ensuring the safety of navigation and improving the quality of service. A quality ship operator will be selected to build a new vessel through a 20-year contract. The new ship will have the capacity to carry over 600 passengers, of which 300 spaces must be designed as sleeping berths. In addition, the vehicle carrying capacity will also be increased. In the future, the new vessel must be able to carry 80 small passenger cars, four large tour buses, and ten TEU containers at the same time, with a gross tonnage of more than 8,300 to satisfy the passenger and cargo delivery service demand between Taiwan and Penghu.

Yeh, Hsieh-Lung stated that in addition to the overall aesthetic planning and the provision of comfortable passenger space, the future construction and operation mode of the New Taiwan-Penghu Ferry will break the traditional model of shipbuilding by government-commissioned shipyards and operation by ship operators. Through a long-term contract, ship operators can design new vessels according to operational needs, introduce the flexible management used in private operations, revitalize the use of vessels, ensure the availability rate of ships, and reduce the financial burden on the government. The project has already been launched and the announcement of the bidding process is currently underway. The construction of the New Taiwan-Penghu Ferry is expected to be completed in August 2023.

The MPB will continue to supervise the successful bidders to complete the project on time and according to the relevant quality standards, in order to provide safe and stable operation services and improve the service and quality of sea transportation between Taiwan and Penghu.